The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s Episode 5 Cameo Was so Top-Secret It Surprised Even Wyatt Russell

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier revealed a surprise character so top-secret that even Wyatt Russell, whose ex-Captain America John Walker encounters this person in Friday's episode, at first didn't know the identity of his co-star. Spoilers for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 5, "Truth." After the secretly Super Soldier Serum-empowered Walker uses the star-spangled shield of Captain America to murder Nico (Noah Mills), a member of the Flag Smashers, he's disowned as a representative of the United States government and its military and stripped of his title and authority as Captain America — effective immediately.

In the wake of his other-than-honorable discharge, a disgraced Walker meets Contessa Valentina 'Val' Allegra de Fontaine (Seinfeld and Veep's Julia Louis-Dreyfus). The mystery woman somehow knows he took the Super Soldier Serum recreated by Dr. Wilfred Nagel (Olli Haaskivi), making the ex-Cap "very, very valuable to certain people."

Handing him a blank business card, Val tells him: "I actually think it was the second-best choice you've ever made in your life. You want to know what the first best choice was? ... Picking up the phone when I call you." Like that, Val is gone as suddenly as she appeared.

"It'll be endlessly interesting because she's endlessly interesting," Russell told Esquire about Louis-Dreyfus, whose involvement wasn't disclosed to him when he signed onto the Marvel Studios series. There were rumblings on set that someone was coming in Episode 5, but the TV legend's role was a locked-down and well-kept Marvel secret.

"I think people are going to think one thing and get a little bit of another because she's such a great actress and you've seen her do feats for the past, however many years. This is a very different type of character for her," Russell said. "I'm excited for whatever comes with that. I don't know. I have no idea what's going to come of it, but I hope something does. It would be amazing to work with her."

After Louis-Dreyfus' reveal in Episode 5, Vanity Fair reported the character — who has sometimes operated under the name Madame Hydra in the Marvel comics — was supposed to first appear in Black Widow, the Scarlett Johansson-starring spy thriller that would have released into theaters in 2020 were it not for the pandemic.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will premiere its sixth and final episode on Friday, April 23, on Disney+.

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